Arista Networks, Amid Takeover Bids, Eyes IPO: Report

The networking company, which is run by a number of former Cisco employees, is aiming for an IPO later this year or in early 2013, according to a Reuters report.

Arista Networks, a company that makes networking gear for cloud computing and data center environments, reportedly is considering a move to go public within the next year or two after fending off acquisition attempts.

Executives with Arista, which is populated with Cisco Systems veterans and counts former Sun Microsystems co-founder and executive Andy Bechtolsheim as a founder, are aiming at an initial public offering (IPO) later this year or in early 2013, President and CEO Jayshree Ullal told Reuters in a March 7 report.

The internal conversations come as Arista, which began rolling out products in 2008, has been resisting attempts by larger vendors to buy the company, according to the report. Ullal, who spent 15 years with Cisco before making the move to Arista, told the news organization that there is no hurry on the company€™s part to sell, and that officials can take their time laying the groundwork for an IPO.

"We are profitable, and what we are doing is taking that cash and investing it back into the business and R&D and sales and marketing," she told Reuters.

Arista offers a dozen switches that touch on everything from ultra-low-latency capabilities to data center class performance. The products come with native support for VMware virtualization technology, and Arista€”like other networking technology vendors€”offers its own operating system, called Extensible Operating System (EOS), which enables a single image across all switch platforms. The company uses chips from Broadcom for its switches.

Reuters quoted unnamed sources as saying that Arista is among the top takeover targets in the industry. However, because the founders are also the ones financially backing the company, there is not a lot of pressure to sell to a rival. Ullal said the company has been able to double its revenues every year since its first products were introduced in 2008.

Bechtolsheim, who is Arista€™s board chairman and chief development officer, and David Cheriton, the chief scientist, are the key initial investors in Arista, investing $100 million in the company in 2004. Both had spent time at Cisco.

The CEO said the company has a number of tasks before it can consider an IPO, including finding a chief financial officer. In November 2011, the company expanded its board of directors from three€”Bechtolsheim, Cheriton and Ullal, to five, including the addition of Dan Scheinman, another Cisco veteran. Ullal told Reuters the company wanted to expand the board beyond five members later this year or in early 2013.

Other former Cisco employees include CTO Kenneth Duda and Christophe Metivier, vice president of manufacturing.